Managing Your NDIS Budgets: 5 Tips To Avoid Overspending
Now that you have your NDIS funding, it’s time to spend and track it.
In your NDIS plan, you’ll see your budgets, which are monetary allocations for all your supports for the plan period. While Core Supports (which we’ve explained in more detail here) are flexible, allocations for specific support categories can only be spent on those supports. This is why it’s especially important to track how you’re spending these budgets, so that you don’t run out of funding for your supports when you need them most.
Here are our most useful tips for staying on top of your budgets and to stay within your allocations:
Start with a breakdown
Look at each category in your NDIS plan, see which supports you’re eligible for, and try to figure out how much time you’ll need for each support. This way you can further break down your budget and understand how much you’ll be spending on a weekly or monthly basis.
Consider your own dedicated team
Having a dedicated team to help you understand what your plan means, what you’re entitled to, how to get the supports you need, and ensure that you stay within your budgets is truly worth considering.
A Support Coordinator will help you find and make arrangements with the best service providers, while a Plan Manager will make sure all your invoices are paid on time, as well as keep you updated on your spending.
At Blitzit, we work closely with your support coordinator to ensure that you get the best out of your plan without going over or under your budgets.
Agree before you spend
Service agreements can be extremely helpful, even if they aren’t required when engaging a service provider.
Service Agreements are an agreement between the service provider and yourself, detailing the types of services provided, how many services they’ll be providing and for how long, the cost of said services, as well as the terms and conditions.
The service agreement allows both parties—you and the service provider—to have a clear, written understanding of what supports are required and what needs to be paid, which also makes the expense much more easy to track.
Track, track track
While there are several ways to keep track of your spending, we highly recommend the Blitzit Online Portal (BOP).
The Blitzit Online Portal (BOMP) was created for ultimate ease, where you can view funds allocated under each category, track your budgets and balances in real time, view your spending history, and view the status of processed and paid invoices. (With our app coming soon, you’ll be able to do it from any device, too!)
Blitzit also sends you our unique emails as you near the end of your current plan. These are periodical monthly reminders beginning from when you’re three months away from your plan ending, with top tips and details of what you’ll need before you head to the plan review. This way, you can examine more clearly what supports were most beneficial to you and whether or not there was adequate funding for these supports.
Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, budgets run low when you least expect it. The last thing you want to do is have to pay out of pocket or forego supports you need altogether, and so there are still a couple of things you can do to help yourself:
First, try to come to an arrangement with your service provider, by making alternate solutions and ensuring your budget is in line with your agreement, so that your supports can continue uninterrupted.
In the event that you are unable to continue with your supports, the next best option is to examine what’s left of your funding and look for lower cost alternatives that fit into your budget.
If your funds will not last for the total of the plan period, then you should contact your NDIS Planner or Local Area Coordinator and let them know you require an unscheduled plan review.
We understand that this can be a little daunting, and The Blitzit Plan Manager team is always happy to assist in making sure you make the most of your NDIS plan. Give us a call at 1300 966 119, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up now. For regular updates on the NDIS and what Blitzit can do for you, sign up for our newsletter here.
Towards the end of your current plan, you’ll be headed toward plan review. This is a great time to think about your plan and whether the budgets have been working in your favour, so that you enter your plan review equipped with all the necessary information to help yourself achieve your future goals.
At your Plan Meeting or Plan Review, you’ll be asked what your choice is for managing your NDIS funding. Some participants opt for a combination of these options, especially as they become more familiar with the NDIS.
A stated item indicates a specific support or service with its own allocation in your NDIS plan. When you see a support with the description “stated supports,” it means that this support has funding that cannot be transferred or used for any other purpose other than the specified item.
After your planning meeting, you’ll be issued your NDIS plan based on what was discussed. The plan will include important information that elaborates on who you are, what support systems you currently have, and what you’re trying to achieve through the help of the NDIS, together with information on what funding is available to you.
We previously talked about the perils overspending may pose to your NDIS plan, but what many may not understand is that underspending can also present potential problems down the line.